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German Studies PhD

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Programme description

Manchester is one of the leading research centres for German Studies in the UK. 55% of its research was deemed 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, and, in the volume and quality of its research, the Department was rated third out of 29 in the country.

Staff research interests include modern German history, film, literature and cultural studies, and range from the 19 th-century to the present day.

Recent PhD projects supervised in the Department include studies on:

  • Early 20 th-century Design (Lief's project )
  • The Ottoman Armenians in the German Media
  • Melusine figures in Theodor Fontane
  • Disability in Contemporary German Women's Writing
  • Holocaust Education
  • Gertrud Kolmar
  • Turkish-German Literature and Film
  • Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary German Culture
  • Architecture and Dictatorship...

A lively research culture is maintained through regular research seminars, PhD fora, masterclasses, and academic conferences, often in collaboration with other disciplines, such as `Mapping, Framing and Visualising Cultural Spaces Under Dictatorships' (2010) with Italian Studies, `Bourdieu and the Public Intellectual: Comparative and Transnational Perspectives' (2011), and `Translating Science' (2012), both in collaboration with the Centre for Translation Studies.

Manchester participates in a national consortium of PhD Summer Schools supported by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), and will host the Summer School in 2014.

The University of Manchester Library is one of the best libraries in the country with excellent electronic access to resources, and the Special Collections of the John Rylands Library are a particularly rich research resource.

Teaching and learning

The PhD is the major postgraduate research degree. It involves three years of full-time study or six years of part-time study and the preparation of a thesis of not more than 80,000 words that makes a significant contribution to knowledge. A satisfactory PhD topic is one that a suitably qualified and properly supervised student can bring to completion within the permitted timeframe. Please note, all PhD students are required to undertake Research Training as part of their PhD programme.

Coursework and assessment

Your research will normally be supervised by two members of staff at the University. Your supervisors will most likely be members of the School, but if your research requires it, the School or Subject area may arrange for supervision by someone outside the School. Supervisory arrangements at Manchester are governed by a Code of Practice which is available on the University's website. Regular meetings will be held with the supervisors, and details of each of the meetings will be recorded. Research Panels (consisting of at least three academic staff, including the supervisors) are held once per semester to monitor progress.

Please note, the first year of the full-time programme and the first two years of the part-time programme are probationary; this means you will be required to show evidence of satisfactory progress in order to proceed with the programme.


For more information on the facilities available within the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, please visit

In addition, the University has five major computer clusters, together with many smaller clusters. In total there are more than 10,000 PCs and workstations across the campus. All provide access to standard office software as well as specialist programs, and all are connected to the campus network and internet. Every student is registered for email, file storage and internet access. If more demanding computer access is required, our specialist computing division Manchester Computing can provide high-end and specialist computing services.

The  University of Manchester Library is one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK and is widely recognised as one of the world's greatest research libraries. We also have one of the largest academic IT services in Europe - supporting world-class teaching and research.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: